A third outing for Hugh Corbett (Spy in Chancery, Crown in Darkness), a clerk in the court of Edward I: this time, Corbett tries to extricate his King from the brouhaha surrounding the poisoning of Walter de Montfort, Dean of St. Paul's, during a Mass at which de Montfort planned on denouncing the King and his taxes. But if the King is innocent, who did put poison in de Montfort's chalice? Master Clerk Corbett--deeply missing his betrothed, Maeve; snowed in in Wales; and helped/ hindered by his licentious/loutish servant Ranulf--focuses on the celebrants of the mass (several of them more worldly than saintly); the Dean's relationship to notorious outlaw Robert Fitzwarren, as well as his interest in a certain London brothel; and the garroting of pudgy Sir Phillip, who may have remembered something significant about the Mass just before he died. Eventually, Master Corbett identifies the killer, who had wanted only to avenge a brother's massacre at the hands of the King's men. Much ribald medieval merriment, along with the ever-authentic Doherty touch. But a tad skimpy on plot, and the lovelorn Hugh is dreary company. It's time for Ranulf to have his own book.